Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Best Laid Plans

Hubbard Park was just as calm and quiet this morning as the water suggests.

Visit #1158, Sunday 16 September 18, 7:40-10:45AM, 4.4 miles.
Temps in the 70's, with moderate humidity and temps reaching the 80's, sunny.

Last week I took a "sans trail maintenance" hike along the ridgeline you see in the photo above, with no intention of picking up litter. This week I returned to the same trail to collect what I ignored then . Also, there was some graffiti at Castle Craig I found last week which needed tools and time I didn't have then. I would take care of it this week.

I enjoyed the quiet morning around Merimere Reservoir until I reached a small parking area and discovered a large amount of garbage discarded in the bushes. I dragged everything to the roadside for later collection by the Meriden Parks Department.

I continued around the reservoir and picked up the Blue Trail rising above the water which looked peaceful from above as well.

And this is about as close as I got toward Castle Craig when I was paged for a service call.

You see, I was on-call for my job just for today, and gambled I could accomplish all my plans without being bothered. That graffiti will have to wait. At least the photo turned out nice!

I hustled back to the park and deposited my trash for the week.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Far and Wide

Visit #1157, Sunday 9 September 18, 7:40-10:20AM, 2.8 miles.
Temps in the 50's, cloudy and very breezy.

I actually took a real, "no trail maintenance" hike in Hubbard Park on Saturday, except by the time I was done I wished I'd done the trail maintenance anyway. I saw too much litter and it pained me to pass it up.  So on Sunday I returned to pick up some of the litter and to tend to other duties, which covered the far corners of Hubbard Park.

On Saturday's hike I stopped at Castle Craig (I rarely poke my head inside whenever I pass by The Castle.) and couldn't believe people would leave their trash inside. So on Sunday morning I stopped by and removed it.

I took a trip to the top and noticed some new graffiti. I wasn't equipped to remove it; stay tuned next week for that.

After cleaning up Castle Craig and the parking lot, I went over to West Peak to continue pinning down the telephone poles at a trailhead to discourage people from driving their vehicles down the secluded trail.

I want to reduce the size of that gap.

First, I have to get one of the telephone poles in the background to move.

Once roughly in position, next I fix its position using 1/2" rebar which I've sharpened to a point.

I leave a small gap to allow ATV's to pass, otherwise they'd just do something destructive to find a way around or through there. If I get REAL CRAZY I might put that remaining telephone pole in the background to use.

I left West Peak and drove down and around Merimere Reservoir. Enroute I stopped to remove two trees which had fallen and were hanging so low they hit the antenna on my vehicle.

I had to climb the bank to reach the base of the trees, then used a bow saw to cut them down.

That's better.

Next, I returned to the parking lot, parked, and hiked the trail on the south side of I-691 to remove two more low hanging trees which I discovered on my hike Saturday.

More bow saw and elbow grease.

I returned to the park and dropped off my bag of litter. Next week I may retrace Saturday's hike to pick up the trash I passed by.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Labor Day Weekend and the Big "Y"

Visit #1155, Saturday 1 September 18, 6:40-7:15AM, mileage n/a.

Visit #1156, Sunday 2 September 18, 8:40-11:25AM, 5.0 miles.

I'm back to documenting the mileage of my weekly hikes. I bought a new pedometer to replace the 4th one I sent to its death in the washing machine. This one has a lanyard I can wear around my neck so hopefully I'll be less likely to toss it in the laundry unless I jump into the basket with it. But I've been known to do stranger things...

During a bicycle ride through the park earlier in the week, I noticed some new graffiti on the concrete bridge supports under I-691. Early on Saturday morning, I drove to the park with a gallon of paint to cover it up without drawing attention to me.

Somebody doesn't know the initials of their beau. I wonder if they slept on the couch that night.

It took me more time to prep than to actually paint over it.

The gloss should disappear when the paint dries.

When I was done, I walked around the retention ponds and picked up litter. I didn't have much time Saturday morning, hence the short visit. While walking the loop, I met a guy who repeatedly asked me WHY I pick up trash, as if sooner or later I would relate it to some trauma I experienced in the womb.

On that same bicycle ride earlier in the week, I saw a lot of litter on the road to East/West Peak. Since I was on-call, it would be easier if I parked at either peak and set out from there. If I had a service call, in theory I'd be closer to my vehicle.

So I parked at West Peak and cleaned up the parking lot and surrounding area, then walked the road on one leg of the "Y" toward Castle Craig. Enroute I dropped off my first bag of trash at the "Y" intersection.

I reached Castle Craig and spruced up the parking lot and the road.

Except for the electrical transformer on the right, that looks picture postcard perfect.

I turned around, and walked the second leg of the "Y" to the intersection, where I dropped off a second trash bag.

Next, I pointed myself downhill, and walked base of the "Y" down to Merimere Reservoir and cleaned up one side of the road. At the reservoir, I turned around and cleaned up the other side of the road. Reaching the intersection of the "Y" a third time, I dropped of a third bag of trash.

As you can see, I had my loppers out because I was trimming branches all along the road sides as I walked.

The last leg of the "Y" on Sunday's journey led back to my van at West Peak. I hopped in and drove to my waiting bags of trash which I took home to put out with my trash next week.

Leaving the park, I stopped to check on Saturday's paint job.

Now, as it should be on Labor Day, I will rest from my labors. I hope you do, too.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Promises Kept, Promises Broken

Dot and Ditto Flagston have my respect. Who names their kid "Ditto" anyway?!

Visit #1154, Saturday 25 August 18, 1:20-4:40PM.
Temps in the high 70's, sunny with moderate humidity.

As promised last week, my plan this week was to remove a tree fallen across the trail behind the water tank.

Here ya' go.

I had barely spent 15 minutes on the trail and already filled a bag with litter. So I dropped it off at the water treatment plant and started another bag.

I hiked up to Castle Craig and turned right, onto the Blue Trail high above Merimere Reservoir.

Hiking along the ridgeline, I spotted a letterbox. I don't intentionally go looking for them; they just pop up occasionally.

This particular letterbox was placed there by the CFPA.

If you've never gone letterboxing; there's a guest book inside which you stamp with your own personal stamp, or use the stamp in the box. Add a little note regarding your visit, and place it back.

Today I also noticed the CFPA appears to be replacing the painted Blue Trail markers with plastic markers nailed to the tree. I'm not sure why they didn't drive the nails all the way in.

At the north end of the trail, I picked up the road around Merimere Reservoir and followed it back to the park.

Enroute I found someone bought a brand new fishing kit just to go fishing in Merimere Reservoir.

Yankees fans will derive some satisfaction knowing this Mets hat was destined for my litter bag.

I returned to the park and dropped off my second bag of litter for the day.

And, from the "Promises Not Kept" department: Remember back in July, I swore off pedometers?
Yeah, well; I caved. Bonus: this pedometer comes with a lanyard, so I can wear it around my neck. The only way it will find its way into the washing machine now is if I jump in with it. Look for mileage tracking returning next week, oh boy!

A parting shot of Miner's Island.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Heralding Fall

 Sunday's cooler temps, after a week of frequent rain, subtly heralds the coming Fall.

Visit #1153, Sunday 19 August 18, 8:40-11:20AM.
Temps in the low 70's, cloudy, with a drying breeze.

The trails were soft, with a number of puddles, after a week of showers and rain. But the hiking was perfect with low humidity and a breeze to keep the mosquitoes in a holding pattern, unable to land and sip from their hosts.

I hiked up to the trail behind the water tank and found I have some future work to do; a tree has fallen across the trail.

At the end of the trail I turned right to check on the lock securing the gate at the south end of Merimere Reservoir. My inspection paid off, in the form of five pennies left on top.

After pocketing my windfall, I turned around and hiked the trails up to the Halfway House, picking up litter along the way.

Cloudy skies stayed with us all day, but at least the clouds looked nice.

I hiked the rest of the trails below the peaks, and trimmed back the foliage on one trail I don't visit often.

Then I pointed myself down and over I-691 via the walkbridge, where I found myself useful.

Since March 2017 visitors to Hubbard Park have been provided the occasional reminder of Donald Trump's dietary habits. Perhaps The Prez would consider this Fake News. Maybe this is the work of Melania!

I was already packing the tools to keep Don's secret.

First I applied Goof-Off and let it sit for a couple minutes, then I scrubbed with a toothbrush.

Not as effective as I'd hoped, but it was a start.

Learning from a past mistake (the fluid gums of the sandpaper), I wiped off the fluid before applying elbow grease and sandpaper.

But I wasn't done. Whoever has inside knowledge of Mr. Trump's eating habits is also a member of the Antifa movement.

I'm an equal-oppotunity graffiti eraser.

One last time for our Fake News, Antifa participant.

If I remove the graffiti, does that label me a Conservative?!

I schlepped back to the parking lot and dropped off my bag of litter for the day.

Next week: Power tools!